Times Square @ Night … as much as I hate it, I do love it …

Times Square, also known as the Crossroads of the World, is a small area in New York City bound by 42nd Street to the south, 50th Street to the north, Sixth Avenue to the east and Ninth Avenue to the west.

I’ll set the record straight, no self respecting New Yorker loves Times Square … it is touristy, overpriced, tacky and generally a clusterfuck to wander around. Like it or not, Times Square continues to be as mindblowingly WTF-worthy as ever – with the Naked Cowboy and Stripper, Dingy Elmo and Fake Spongebob.  It’s like being in Toronto but not really, since no one I know in Toronto actually goes to Niagara Falls or the CN Tower or wants to see crazy stuff, unless they are showing visitors around … then it is a mandatory stop.

Personally, I love the tackiness of Times Square, the hawkers trying to sell you overpriced comedy club tickets, all the tacky stores like the Toys R US store, Hershey’s World, M&M’s World!!! Even the restaurants in Times Square with the overpriced menus add to the atmosphere.

I also really like the billboards and video boards at night. It is a photographer’s night dream, in that it’s so easy to shoot everything, since there is so much ambient light. I do apologize about the advertising, but they do make for great photos.

Making that intersection a pedestrian only zone was a very good but slightly insane thing, since I remember being in Times Square in the early 2003 and this is what Times Square looked 8 years ago. Notice all the traffic and the pedestrian foot traffic weaving in and out.

Notice the difference in 2008, with the pedestrian foot traffic …

Times Square (and in fact most of midtown Broadway) is now permanently closed to traffic. The idea was to make it into an outdoor pedestrian mall because it was a great success in Copenhagen. (Have you met Danish people … they are droll and boring, but very polite … doing this in NYC could only result in craziness).

In light of creating this mega tacky strip mall in the middle of NYC, here is a picture of the chairs on the side in front of Toys R Us were graciously donated by dead people from the 60’s – you have to look on the right side… far off into the pic 😀

You know what I also love in Times Square … Dingy Elmo!! The dingy life-sized Elmo that stands on the corner of 45th and Broadway, luring innocent tourist children and their parents into paying for photos with him.

Here are some telltale signs that it might not be the real Elmo … wholesale borrowing from Dear Time Square

  1. The bizarre beaded Canal Street purse he is carrying? Elmo doesn’t need a purse. And if he did, you best believe it would be some high-end leather messenger from Barney’s, maybe Henri Bendel. Elmo is loaded.
  2. Elmo lives in one of the ritziest neighborhood in all of New York, where even the garbage cans have more spacious accommodations than most East Village studio apartments. He does not need to whore himself out to make a couple of bucks.
  3. Those digs, that Elmo’s got going on? There’s at least 3.5 bathrooms happening in that shit. And a personal groomer… on staff. Elmo would not be caught dead with anything other than pristine, shiny fur.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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